I’ve suffered from fibromyalgia (fibro) for almost four years now – you can read my pain story here. For those of you who read my blog and are less familiar with the condition I thought I’d do a little write up about it for you here, and explain the symptoms I experience. All symptoms are unique to every sufferer, and as there is such a vast range of them, it’d be impossible for me to list them all here without me having to recover in bed for the next ten days. So, here we go;
- The main symptom associated with fibro is widespread pain, quickly followed up by fatigue.
- The pain is all over the body, worse in some areas, and can be burning, throbbing, stabbing or a deep ache. Pain can worsen and ease depending on stress levels, exertion, weather changes and your health.
- Fatigue is not like being tired. It’s that feeling you get when you’re coming down with flu and you need to get to bed immediately. But unfortunately sleep rarely relieves the fatigue and sufferers can be be left exhausted for days/weeks on end in addition to regular day to day exhaustion caused by the condition.
- Non-restorative sleep – the name says it all. You could sleep for 12 hours (unlikely as a fibro girl/guy) and not feel better. But sleep is usually very broken making the situation a whole lot worse.
- Post exertional malaise – think you’ll be ok after that half hour trip to the local shop? You will be, in about 3 days time.
- Hypoalgesia or extreme sensitivity to pain. It might hurt a little to you, but it hurts a lot to us, A LOT!
- Allodynia – Something a little as a light touch can be painful, and the touch of clothes unbearable on bad days. I personally can’t scratch my arms or legs without being in complete agony.
- Sensitivities to environmental factors such as pollution, cigarette smoke (makes me sneeze uncontrollably at times), foods, sounds (lowest setting on the TV for me, and a nightclub is out of the question) and bright lights (always keep a lamp and low wattage bulbs handy).
- Stiffness – often called morning stiffness but it’s not, just like morning sickness is not just the morning. You sit still for more than 10 minutes and your body appears to lock into place. This accounts for my jaw as well. And that is my excuse for being so very chatty!
- Muscle spasms – sometimes caused by stiffness, often just inflicted by the mean guy that is fibro.
- Cognitive issues/fibro fog/brain fog. I personally don’t like the term fibro fog, not sure why, I’m assuming it’s because I forget I actually do like it! Poor memory, forgetting what you’re talking about, getting words mixed up and talking in riddles, slow confused speech and concentration issues are all part and parcel of fibro.
- Headaches, lots of lovely headaches. Sometimes caused by pain or jaw locking, sometimes caused by exhaustion, sometimes by medication, sometimes just because fibro is cruel.
- IBS – cramping, bloating, constipation, diarrhoea, – you get the picture. Not fun when you’re already in pain and can barely stand up.
- Mobility problems – pain and exhaustion can make walking difficult. Going for a run is out of the question, in fact don’t even think about that one! Lots of us have to resort to walking sticks and wheelchairs, myself included.
- Dizziness, ah dizziness, how I hate you, especially half way through a Monday morning at my desk. And when I wake up. And waking with it during the night, eugh.
- Restless legs. Feel like you can run a marathon? You really can’t, but your legs are giving it their best shot.
- Tinging, pins & needles in hands and feet, also know as paraesthesia
- If you weren’t in enough pain already, your period pain is about to gt a whole lot worse. Unless you’re a guy, then it’s probably just good ol’ IBS again.
- Anxiety and depression – it’s hard not be anxious and beaten down when faced with all of the above, so do bear with us and be kind if it’s a particularly bad day.
- Allergies – over the years I’ve become more allergic to an increasingly long list. I developed an allergy to my cat, now I can’t even spray perfume without a marathon sneezing fit. I’ve actually scared people off on the bus. Great for getting your own seat (focusing on the positives here).
I’m really quite sure I’ve missed a number of things off this list so do let me know if you spot anything that needs adding. But I think I’ve reeled off at least all of the symptoms that affect me.
Hope this post was informative to those of you that don’t know all too much about fibro.
As always, I love hearing from you so feel free to comment or get in touch.